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Whenever I have admired the cleanliness in some countries other than mine and lamented the lack of the same here, many of my friends have jumped in, with the defense that ‘poverty’ is the reason.

Like hell it is! Give me a bleddy break.

The truth is most of my fellow citizens care two hoots about their surroundings. So what if it is this scenic location that makes you catch your breath with its magnificence, and to see which you have traveled all the way from… wherever?! Well-dressed, young, the world at your feet probably. But, when you are done with the plastic water bottle, you throw it oh so casually (and carelessly) into the middle of the sea of beautiful flowers, which almost bring tears to your eyes with their tiny prettiness, and walk away unconcerned.

Tears of frustration intruded into my tears of joy on my recent trip to Tiger Point, Lonavla, when I saw a plastic bottle flying out of nowhere and landing on the flowers even as I was focusing my camera for a shot.

Take a look at the beautiful scene below. Tears of joy. Right?

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And now I will zoom out. See the litter? There is more among those flowers,not visible in the picture. That’s reason enough for tears of frustration to intrude.

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Yeah, I know what some wisecracks will say. This is nothing. Some places are littered more. As if that is any consolation. In my opinion, they need their heads cracked. Whether it is a tiny toffee wrapper or lots of plastic and paper waste, what lies beneath is the same: total disregard for your surroundings. Such beauty all around, but all that some morons can do is litter and then whroom whroom away on their fancy bikes and luxury cars or even the local tourist bus or car. That is apart from jumping the fence (erected for your own safety) and clicking photos standing at the very edge. My, what bravado!

Now if anyone tells me just once more that it is ‘poverty’ that is the reason for our surroundings being dirty, I will probably bung a red brick at you with intent to injure. This is nothing but utter lack of a civic sense. There is absolutely no pride in the natural/man-made treasures that are ours. I am sure these same people will forward and share posters and stories of patriotism, and glibly talk of love for their country. But when it comes to disposing of a plastic bottle or wrappers ALL of their country is their dustbin. Shame.

Enough about the morons. Take a look at some of the pictures I clicked. The last one, of course, was taken by the Second Born of mine.

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There were so many butterflies (I especially saw many Painted Ladies) dancing around even in the noon sun. I wish I had a whole lot more time to spend there. Sigh, maybe another day I will be back amidst this grandeur and of course, click more of the butterflies and the wildflowers too.

©Shail Mohan 2014

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